WEST LAFAYETTE — A Purdue University student has been selected a recipient of the highly competitive Mitchell Scholarship.
Mason Gordon, an agricultural economics major studying in the College of Agriculture, is a native of Rushville. In his every endeavor, Mason has proven his life is dedicated to serving rural communities, now and in the future. With this scholarship he will apply that drive to rural community research during graduate school in Ireland following his anticipated Purdue graduation in May 2020.
“In the realization that many rural schools – and their communities in turn – were on the brink of extinction, I came to appreciate how impactful my farm community had been on my life,” Gordon said.
Gordon is serving these communities through public policy discussions and experiences. Fresh out of high school, he participated in an effort that brought in $14 million in state and federal funding to the downtown development of Rushville as a Stellar Community. In the following year, he spent a year of service traveling the state for Future Farmers of America, motivating young people to speak up for agricultural issues.
Before transferring to Purdue, Gordon spent two years at Lincoln Land Community College on a livestock judging scholarship where he earned an associate’s degree in agriculture. From there, he entered Purdue and into one of this nation’s top agricultural economics programs. Based on his experience on the ground in economic development in Rushville, Gordon is participating in Purdue’s research on rural community development initiatives.
“Mason is always thinking several steps ahead and weaving seemingly disparate threads into a framework of support for rural places, in Indiana and across the globe,” said Michael Wilcox, Purdue Extension’s assistant director and program leader for community development, and Gordon’s thesis advisor. “He understands that this population and landmass plays an integral role in both the present and future for everyone.”
Gordon has also spent a semester as a legislative policy intern for Indiana Farm Bureau Inc., where he conceived of and led “FFA Day,” in which youth from across the state engaged with representatives and staffers at the Indiana Statehouse to bring forward issues close to their hearts for their own communities.
Gordon’s leadership qualities are frequently mentioned by his instructors and mentors.
“We are always thrilled to see our students utilizing the excellence of Purdue agriculture to make a difference on the ground in local communities,” said Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the College of Agriculture. “Mason embodies that spirit, and we look forward to seeing the impact of his passion and leadership, both as a Mitchell Scholar and beyond.”